There are several experiences which I consider to be formative in my Christian walk, including my conversion, my first Easter, my Walk to Emmaus and my calling into vocational ministry. Membership and participation in The United Methodist Church , the Walk to Emmaus and Chrysalis communities, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes have also influenced my spiritual formation. Through my continued involvement with these ministries I continue to grow spiritually and seek to grow deeper in my walk with Christ.

Having attended a Christian Science church all my life and having learned to trust God for all things, I did not really believe that I needed to be saved or that I needed anything from God that I did not already have. In fact, I did not even know what it meant to be “saved,” as I traveled mostly in Christian Science circles where I did not hear evangelical language. But little did I know, God had other plans for me! In January of 1999, I attended a United Methodist Youth Rally as a chaperone for the youth group my daughters attended. At this rally, I was introduced to the real Jesus – the one who was born, lived, died and rose again for the sake of my soul. It was the final evening of the rally, and I was minding my own business when God revealed His love to me in a way I had never known. It was warm, complete, and compelling, not cold and impersonal as I had felt growing up. The transaction was sealed the next morning as I experienced Holy Communion with my Savior, Jesus. It was the start of a new life I never knew was available to me.

My first Easter as a born-again believer is a time I will never forget. My heart was already so full of the love of God from my conversion experience a few months earlier that I did not think I could hold any more. But that weekend we had a youth lock-in at the church, and I thought I would burst for the love of God. I literally spent hours kneeling at the altar rail just pouring out my life and my heart to my God, being thankful for all things, and opening my heart to anything and everything else that God had in store for me.

My Walk to Emmaus experience, which took place about a month after that first Easter, was extremely formative for me. I had gone to the weekend with my priorities wildly out of balance. Having just switched careers a little less than a year before, I was obsessed with my job and trying to be successful. God showed me that my eyes should be on the cross and my efforts should be on knowing my Lord more. There were moments and hours of close communion with God I love to reflect on and teaching principles I still look back on and remember. I will never forget the experience of feeling God’s unconditional love in such totality. For this reason, I rejoice to serve on Emmaus and Chrysalis weekends as others experience this kind of intimacy.

The United Methodist Church as a whole and Whatcoat United Methodist Church in particular have been a great support and encouragement during my entire life as a born-again Christian. It was at a United Methodist youth rally that I first met Jesus. It was through a United Methodist Church that I was sponsored for the Walk to Emmaus, and it was under the supervision of The United Methodist Church that I entered the candidacy process toward ordination. United Methodist pastors and friends have been the ones who have helped shaped my theology and helped confirm my calling.

I received my calling into full-time vocational ministry in June of 2002 while I was serving on a Chrysalis weekend.  God gave me a vision in which I saw my (future) life “flash” before my eyes as I saw myself serving as an ordained minister.  I knew instantly why the vision had been given and what I was meant to do about it.  That September I was back in school to complete the final two years of my bachelor’s degree, and then entered seminary in September 2004 to earn my Masters of Divnity, which was completed in May of 2010.

My desire is to continue to grow spiritually through increased intimacy with my Lord Jesus the Christ. I believe this is achieved through the exercise of spiritual disciplines done, not out of duty, but out of love and a desire for perfect oneness. I believe that through solitude and quietness, and an open heart and spirit, I can continue to deepen my relationship with God the Father, Jesus, my Lord, and the Holy Spirit, my Comforter and Advocate.

Because of the nurturing environments I have experienced through The United Methodist Church, the Emmaus and Chrysalis communities, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I have been born again, discipled, encouraged, and affirmed. I am confident that they will continue to help me develop and grow as a Christian and as a Christian leader.